Britain is set to sell 48 new Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia, despite campaigners accusing the country of war crimes.
A 'memorandum of intent', which aims to finalise the deal, was signed today between the government and the nation's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he completed a three-day visit to the UK.
BAE Systems, the British defence giant producing the jets, employs 5,000 people on its Typhoon programme in the UK.
Chief executive Charles Woodburn called the news a "positive step", while Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said it would " increase security in the Middle East and boost British industry and jobs".
But campaigners have spent days calling for Britain to suspend arms sales to the Gulf state.
Yemen, which borders southern Saudi Arabia, has been embroiled in a bloody civil war since 2014 when rebels took over the capital city of Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia is the main player in a coalition supporting the Yemeni government against the Houthis in a war which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said today: “If agreed this shameful deal will be celebrated in the palaces of Riyadh and by the arms companies who will profit from it, but it will mean even greater destruction for the people of Yemen.
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